A letter to our Fellow Christians Easter 2006


In the Bible there is a definite message from God

April 2006

Dear Fellow Christians inside and outside the Swedish church

We send this greeting in a time of great distress in our Church. First and foremost we want to remind you that the reality and glory of Jesus Christ does not stand or fall with church-political decisions, fuzzy statements or denials – even if they come from within a church. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

We who write this are members of the Church of Sweden. On certain issues we have differing views, but on one central point we are all united in the same faith. We are convinced that there is an objective revelation from God mediated to us through the incarnate Word – Jesus – and through the inspired Word – the Scriptures. We write to you who want to follow Jesus and let him be the Lord in your life. The Church of Sweden is not a unique church in the world – not in any sense of the word – but we are placed here to serve our Lord. Therefore we pray that we may participate in the prevention of a split within the part of the worldwide Church of Christ that is the Swedish church. We confess that we belong to one holy and catholic Church. In the worldwide Church we have an infinite number of friends. With worry and alarm, but also with empathy and prayer they follow those who want to live as followers of Jesus Christ even in our church.

We are aware that the divine revelation – Jesus and the Scriptures – has been misinterpreted and distorted at some times in the history of the Christian Church, and also in our time. But this does not change the fact that there is a definite message from God in the Bible, a truth we can interpret and test. In the world wide Church since the time of the New Testament we have the common interpretation of this truth, against which we can compare and test our own interpretation.

We believe that the situation in which the Church of Sweden finds herself today does not first and foremost have to do with issues of lifestyle and how we live together. Rather it has to do with what is the most central message of the Church, what goes to her most profound identity – the content of the Gospel. Therefore, this does not involve issues of small details. It has to do with the foundation of the Church, without which she risks falling apart all together.

In our church, we note that many believers feel deserted and marginalized. At the same time we feel a humble joy for all the Christians who continue to work in unbroken faithfulness to Christ and to the commission He gave his Church.

We want to encourage you to hold fast to the biblical revelation about the Creation, the Fall, and the Salvation. It is in this revelation we find the only message that greets us with grace, forgiveness and healing. It comes to us in the midst of our vulnerability, in the midst of what is broken, in the midst of our various orientations and desires, with which we struggle and wrestle in various ways. It is not simply a confirmation of our being. First we see ourselves in God’s light and discover our sin and our unwillingness to follow him. The message is for us to repent, receive forgiveness and healing and so accept help from the Spirit in seeking God’s will.

Because we believe that the Church of Sweden still has the important task of showing the liberation and healing there is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we want to encourage you to take heart and with perseverance live in discipleship and prayer in this time of distress. The power to renew the Church is not to be found where Christ is retouched and removed. Rather, it is found in the many humble meetings where one or two Christians pray or where a small number of people worship together. Know that those who build on Jesus Christ build on the Cornerstone that God Himself has chosen (1 Peter 2:6-8).

Bo Brander, Lund
Roland Gustafsson, Örkelljunga
Stefan Gustavsson, Nacka
Eva Hamberg, Lund
Erik Johansson, Örebro
Yngve Kalin, Hyssna
Greger Larsson, Örnsköldsvik
Berit Simonsson, Henån
Matthias Sundkvist, Boden

 

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2006-04-13